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September 21, 2016

What is "This Is Us" about? Depends on who you ask.

Last night was the premiere of NBC’s “This Is Us,” a television show with one of the most-viewed trailers on Facebook this year.Over ten million people watched that trailer, including everyone in our office. Without giving them any additional information, I asked them what the hell they thought it was about. Here are their responses.

Nate Dern, Senior Writer

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Oh man, I bet “This Is Us” is a show that is primarily about making you cry every episode. I think I’m a somewhat cynical, jaded person, and I’ve seen this trailer about five times now, and watching it again I just teared up at the 1:14 mark when the music switches from inspiring to sad when the mom dies in labor. Plus, a son reuniting with an estranged father? That is def going to make me cry every time. Also, every episode follows a new set of four people turning 36 years old, and every episode ends with those characters blowing out the candles on a cake and says, “Well, I guess this is us” and then someone else says, “Wait, who are you talking about?”

Matt Mayer, Director / Editor

I think This Is Us is an experimental show about totally unrelated characters, stories and events. The writers are testing where the human brain will draw connections and patterns from stories that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, and thus find such a show satisfying. The most curious of us will watch at least an entire episode assuming that the artists have been responsible and tied the show together, at LEAST thematically. But, they won’t. The stories and characters will stay disparate.

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The Stanford psychology department commissioned the show for a scientific study, and they will track the individuals who watch more than just the pilot. They’ll be determining just how long the human need to find patterns in everything we witness persists in its attempt before giving up. There are probably lab technicians watching us in our homes to see how we react, jotting down exactly when we quit trying. For me, it was right after I watched the trailer.

Kelly Hudson, Writer

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So, I guess This Is Us was cobbled together using footage from the now dead-as-hell Gary Marshall’s last creation. The movie was probably going to be called “Thirty-Sixth Birth Day” or just “Birth Day” or something stupid. Looks like the only things these generic characters have in common is that they all are turning thirty-six on the same day. For some reason, Gary couldn’t round up the usual cast of big-name celebs but he was able to give it the same feel as a show created by a weird Alt-Christian Institution. The soft focus on family, reconciliation, starting over, and of course, the origin story of OJ prosecution attorney, Chris Darden. Apparently Chris Darden’s dad abandoned him at a fire station.

Dan Abramson, Editor in Chief

I’m fairly confident that it’s an episodic adaptation of this classic film:

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Zack Poitras, Head Writer

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It’s about a bunch of people who pronounce ISIS “ISUS.”

Hannah Levy, Editor

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This Is Us is a show about an important topic: people who don’t know each other at all. It’s 2016, but most people still think that they know everybody else in the world. Personally, I’m excited to finally see the idea of characters who don’t intersect represented on television. It’s easy to believe that you know everyone. In your day-to-day life, little contradicts this assumption. You know your significant other, and you know your coworkers, and then you know the friends you hang out with after work. If you have kids, you know them too. Sometimes, you meet someone new, but then you know them. The universe of This Is Us, however, shows us something different. It’s a world where there are a whole lot of people, but some of them don’t even know each other exist. To unpack this a little further, some of the characters live in different places, never talk to each other, and never even make out. We are in the golden age of television, and I think it’s getting goldener.

Jason Flowers, Senior Content Editor

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Oh man, this looks great. I’m definitely going to watch this show and eventually be proven wrong, but if I had to guess, which is what you’ve asked me to do, I would say this is the story of five 36-year-old former friends, all born in the same hospital on the same day, 36 years ago, but somehow grown apart in recent years. Mandy Moore functions as the matriarch at the center of the group, bringing these childhood friends back together in her moment of crisis. Major Dad’s Gerald McRaney serves as the moral compass of the show’s pilot, but before the first episode ends, he’s driven to commit suicide after hearing that Jason Mraz song one too many times, leaving these former friends to figure out life on their own.

Dashiell Driscoll, Senior Social Content Producer

It’s about an hour long.

Ben Wietmarschen, Writer

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This show is about hope, perseverance, tragedy, kindness, and, most of all love, family, struggle, forgiveness, generosity, hope, and hope. Told in four stories and here they are:

1. A horny Steelers fan got his wife pregnant with some dumb ass triplets and one bites the big one.
2. A businessman find his dad who was lost but hates him.
3. A big woman finds a big man and they make out even though they think its gross.
4. A hunk has a threesome with 2 babes who dance for him.

And they all probably live in the same dumbass town and probably go to the same dumbass cafe in the morning and that’s why they’re all in the same show and they’re all 36 so they’re old as shit so they probably don’t even know who Ariana Grande is.

In the end, sadly, none of my coworkers got it right. Because this trailer is about one thing only: screaming “OH MY FUCKING GOD, IS THAT JESS FROM ‘GILMORE GIRLS’?” to your entire office with such unbelievable urgency they immediately think something is terribly wrong. That is us.
Watch Gilmore Girls, Coming to Netflix this fall.